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Mainers don’t hibernate in the winter – there’s too much to celebrate (like the snow and ice and…well, it’s mostly the snow and ice). Even still, there are plenty of winter festivals to look forward to, featuring everything from sled dogs and figure skaters to snowball-throwing competitions, ice carving and sledding hills built in the middle of the street. And for festivals with awesome winter fireworks: Winter fireworks are better, brighter, louder: Upcoming displays in Maine
Noon to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 17 | Municipal Ice Rink & High School Sports Complex, Scarborough | www.scarboroughmaine.org
Ice Cube Hunt. Snow Sculpture Contest. Milk Jug Curling. If those activities haven’t already won you over (and they have) there will also be human dog sledding, a snow shoe obstacle course, snow sling and so much more. Families can compete to be crowned the Royal Family and a Royal King and Queen will also be named.
Jan. 17 | Payson Park, Portland | www.winterkids.org
All the best winter activities – sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating – will be waiting for you at the annual Winter Festival. The event runs from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. In between all the outdoor fun, enjoy hot cocoa by the fire, raffles, giveaways and more.
Jan. 23-25 | Multiple locations in downtown Portland | Free | www.portlandmaine.com
WinterFest kicks off Friday night with a Rail Jam on Spring Street, where snowboarders will be doing jumps and tricks and you can eat food and watch. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday there’s a Snow Sculpture event in Congress Square Park and from 1 to 4 p.m., hang out with the Portland Pirates in Monument Square. And all weekend long, you can participate in the scavenger hunt – just download the app to you smartphone and collect points to win prizes. FMI: www.portlandmaine.com/cornerstone-events/winterfest-2015/
Jan. 30-Feb. 8 | Various locations in Camden | www.camdenmaineexperience.com
There will be ice carving, freestyle skiing competitions, a singalong version of “Frozen”, an outdoor film festival, a beer tasting and — of course — the US National Toboggan Championships.
Jan. 22-24 | Rangeley | rangeleysnowmobile.com/snodeo/2015
RangeleyLakes Snowmobile Club throws quite the party. There will be scenic helicopter flights, marshmallow roasts, casino night, a chowder cook off and, of course, snowmobile rides.
Noon to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 31 | Wainwright Recreation Complex, South Portland | Free | www.facebook.com
Hockey Clinics, Wagon rides, Ice Sculpture demo, Snow sculpture contests, snow shoeing, ice skating, pond hockey, food trucks. The night before, head to Mill Creek Park for ice skating and a luminary walk.
Feb. 2-27 | Brunswick | brunswickdowntown.org
Month-long celebration includes activities like community poetry, lectures, tours, dining events and films.
Feb. 6-8 | Various locations, Auburn | Many activities free, some require a fee | www.auburnmaine.gov
Sledding, snowmobile rides, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating, ice sculptures, torchlight parade, music and more.
Feb. 6-8 | Various locations in Biddeford | heartofbiddeford.org |
Don’t miss the human dog sled biathlon, followed by a snowball throwing contest (based on distance, not accuracy) Friday night, Feb. 6. Also find sleigh rides, pony rides, free ice skating and more throughout the weekend.
ALSO: Check out the Winter Carnival at Run of the Mill on Feb. 7. There will be an ice bar outside with signature cocktails and beer from Run of the Mill and Sam Adams. There will also be a live band outside (and heaters, too, to fend off the chill. Even still, dress warmly). And the cool thing? Ice shots: shots in little glasses made of ice. FMI: www.facebook.com
Feb. 6-7 | Various locations in Kennebunk | www.kennebunkmaine.us
Figure skating performances, fire jugglers, horse-drawn wagon rides, soup tasting contest, craft fair and more.
Feb. 7 | Mt. Abram, Greenwood | bethelmaine.com |
A bluegrass festival in the snow. Live bands from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Feb. 13-15 | Riverbank Park and other venues, Westbrook | Most activities free | www.facebook.com/WinterWestFestival
The festival kicks off on Friday night with a bonfire and mashmallow roasting and ends with competitive sled dog races on Sunday. In between, enjoy free ice skating, Krazy Jake comedy show, snow sculpting contest, indoor art and craft fair and more.
Feb. 13-15 | Roberts Farm Preserve, Norway | www.facebook.com
There will be plenty of snowshoeing, of course, including daytime treks across the preserve and a candlelight snowshoe on Friday night. Plus snowshoe games (like relay races, three-legged races, egg & spoon, musical chairs and snowshoe wife carry).
Feb. 7 | Greenville | www.mooseheadriders.org |
Events include a chili/chowder cookoff, various snowmobile events and other outdoor winter activities.
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 14 | $7 adults, free for members and children under 2 | Gilsland Farm, Falmouth | maineaudubon.org
Outdoor activities, including scavenger hunt, story walk, snow science station and giant snow shelter. Snowshoe rentals, arts and crafts, snowy owls interactive display and more.
Feb. 14-15 | Highland Lake and other locations, Bridgton | mainelakeswintercarnival.com
When you were younger, you might’ve conned the family dog into pulling you around the snow-covered yard on a plastic sled, because mushing is an exceptional way to embrace winter. Aspiring mushers can give the family dog a rest and get a first-hand dogsledding experience on either day as long as they sign up beforehand ($30 for a 20-minute ride. Call 207-647-3472 to reserve). There will also be a table tennis contest, snowmobile rides, concerts and a Freezin for a Reason polar dip.
Feb. 14 | Naples Causeway | Naples Winter Carnival
The schedule isn’t out yet, but last year’s events included an ice fishing derby, snowmobile radar runs, helicopter rides, antiques snowmobiles, hay rides, fireworks and more.
Feb. 19-21 | Old Orchard Street, Old Orchard Beach | www.oob365.com/WinterCarnival.html
The beach doesn’t see a lot of foot traffic in the winter, but Old Orchard Beach’s Winter Carnival aims to bring people beachside for some winter sledding with views of the Atlantic. So what massive hill in OOB will visitors be sledding on? Just a man-made mini-mountain – in the middle of Old Orchard Street. Kids Carnival on Thursday, night sledding and Poker Run pub crawl on Friday and giant snow hill sledding on Saturday (plus hot cocoa and marshmallow toasting and horse-drawn carriage rides). Then hit Jimmy the Greeks for the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball at 7 p.m. $10 admission.
Feb. 21 | Various locations in Ogunquit | www.visitogunquit.org
Don’t miss the hat parade and hat party, the crowning of the Mardi Gras king and queen, music and other events during the festival sponsored by the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce.
Feb. 20-22| Fountain Park, Bates Mill Complex, Lewiston | $15, free on Sunday | icefestla.com
By mid-February, winter ice can get pretty thick. Put that ice to work in your favor at the Ice Festival of Lewiston/Auburn, where frosty beverages are served up with a twist and where winter ice is carved into ice bars and cool ice sculptures and ice luges for chilled winter drinks. Because ice doesn’t seem so bad when it’s serving you a cocktail. There’s also food from area restaurants, live music and plenty of revelry to keep everyone warm. $15 on Friday and Saturday (special VIP event on Saturday from 4-5:30 p.m. with a limited number of tickets). The Ice Fest is free and family-friendly on Sunday (there will be food and entertainment for the kids and the igloo might be back).
Feb. 21 | Shawnee Peak, Bridgton | www.shawneepeak.com
Events include a scavenger hunt, snow sculpting, pie eating, tug of war and storybook characters come to life, all free.
Feb. 23 | Aroostook State Park, Presque Isle | www.visitaroostook.com
Participate in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sled rides, guided nature walks and more.Event runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with $1.50 fee for adults.